Brendan Fehr Hits the Streets
Brendan Fehr achieved hottie status as a soulful, misunderstood alien in the "Roswell" t.v. series. The hunk from Canada wanted to be a professional hockey player but it wasn't in the cards so he started his career filming in Vancouver. You might have seen him in Final Destination, Disturbing Behavior and The Forsaken. He rides down a new road in the action drama Biker Boyz playing "Stuntman", a show off dude with a heart of gold who rarely wears a helmet. He's the only anglo kid in a club of weekend bikers who take their rides and their challenges very seriously. When we chatted with Brendan recently, we learned that he still plays hockey and that the dirt bike he rode as a kid didn't really prepare him for the big engine cycles he tackles in Biker Boyz.
TeenHollywood: What was it like being a part of this huge cast?
Brendan: I never thought about it. I walked around with five hundred Black people around me everyday, and you know, there was only love. I mean, Kid Rock was there on set. Everyone was just enjoying each other. I can honestly say at first it was a little weird maybe because I grew up in Canada and there's not a whole bunch of Black people and I don't go to school with many, but you know what, that's okay. I walked on set and I was like, 'Hey guys,' and it was done.
TeenHollywood: There's a great camaraderie among the characters in the film. Did you feel left out of that?
Brendan: A lot of guys in the movie grew up in a culture of hip hop and all of that stuff, and the movie relies heavily on that music and that urban vibe. If there's going to be a man who's kind of standing off looking a little confused, it's going to be me because that's not what I grew up doing. But at the same time, my job is to pretend that that's what Stuntman, my character, grew up with and was always involved in. I was definitely not uncomfortable.
TeenHollywood: Are you concerned that because so many good African-American actors are in the film that it will be labeled a "Black" film?
Brendan: Some movies out there are labeled Black movies. 'That's a Black movie.' I've said that before, and I don't think that there's anything wrong with it, but I definitely don't think that it applies to this. It's a biker movie. It's a good movie and that's all it is. About Laurence [Fishburne], someone said, 'Laurence is a great Black actor,' and I was like, 'Are you out of your mind?' No, he's a great actor (period).
TeenHollywood: had you done much riding before this?
Brendan: I had ridden a little before, just a little dirt bike when I was a kid and I obviously got better when we learned. I do have a bike now. I knew the mechanics of a bike and knew how to get it going and ride and stay up on it, but the machines nowadays are built for speed and are built to defy gravity. We went through a camp where we worked our way up from two fifties to eleven hundreds and got comfortable with it. It wasn't so much a boot camp. It was just, take a ride, have fun, sit down, have a drink.
TeenHollywood: Did it get competitive between cast members?
Brendan: No, not at all. We didn't race. There was no competition. A lot of that was the rehearsal process, just in terms of getting to know each other. We spent about two or three weeks doing it. You know, an hour here, three hours there. If there were any barriers to break down, which there didn't turn out to be, that was the place. At least, me, Rick [Gonzales] and Derek [Luke] got to know each other really well.
TeenHollywood: You have a tattoo. Did you get it for the movie?
Brendan: No, before. I had thought I'm not one to get piercings but I was always kind of intrigued by it. I thought that if I could think of something that meant enough to me...I just didn't want to get Elmer Fudd for no reason. I finally got it done, and after the first one, they're addicting. I got one, and I was like, 'I want three,' and I mean, if I wasn't acting, I think that I would have a whole bunch more.
TeenHollywood: Is this sort of a clash of the generations movie?
Brendan: We had a script that did that on its own. There's Smoke [Laurence Fishburne], there's Derek and where there's Smoke, there's Kid. (Derek's character). That was cool enough for me. Age wasn't so much a factor. I mean, obviously, we set that up, the younger generation coming up, making their name and doing their thing, but basically, it was just that he wanted to be the king of Cali. Kid thought that he was a great rider and that provided a little extra fuel to the fire. It wasn't so much the age thing. It's the theme of youth finding their place and learning their lessons.
TeenHollywood: Is this a "teen movie"?
Brendan: I don't think that it fits into the genre of a teen movie by any standard of imagination. Just because you have teenagers in a movie doesn't make it a teen movie. Young people in a movie doesn't make it that kind of movie. I think that it's just a biker movie. It has heart to it. It exposes the underground culture of these motorcycle clubs, how they work, what they do, who's involved, everyone from lawyers to garbage men, then, we toss you an actual plot, which a lot of the teen movies don't have, with Derek and Laurence and their whole family situation. I think that you just have a good movie.
TeenHollywood: Did you know about these clubs going in?
Brendan: I mean, it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility that clubs like this existed. People get together for all sorts of things, some crazy and some are stupid and some are beneficial. It's not something that you necessarily pay attention to if you don't live in that world, if you don't grow up with it. We've all heard about the motorcycle gangs but this was definitely on another level. These were a bunch of guys who just get together for the love of riding.
TeenHollywood: So these bikers have jobs?
Brendan: They do have jobs, but it is their lives. You know, it's their passion. They work at everything from blue to white collar jobs and you need the money to buy that bike. It don't run on water. You work a nine to five, you get the weekends off and go riding with your buddies, drag racing and what not.
TeenHollywood: Did you understand why these people love the sport so much?
Brendan: I love hockey, and I don't love it for any other reason than when I get out there and play, I enjoy it. You know, when I approach a script, if anything, I over simplify it rather than over analyze it. I kind of just break everything down to the lowest common denominator. As soon as you get on a bike, you realize why they like it so much. People have a particular preconceived notion about what the motorcycle clubs are all about, and that includes generally a lot of negative stuff, but it's not. It's a bunch of guys getting together because they all have something in common and that's a love for the motorcycle. They share that one thing.
TeenHollywood: You didn't get a girl in the movie. Did that bother you?
Brendan: (laughs) No, that doesn't bother me. That wasn't my role in the movie. My role was to provide a little comic relief perhaps, and I was Kid's friend. I was there to back him up to have a little fun with him and show the other side of his life.
TeenHollywood: Do you feel like you have to be a role model for kids in the film?
Brendan: No, not at all. There's a scene cut out after Kid wipes out on the drag strip in California, there was actually a scene where he goes back and convinces me to wear a helmet and then, I do have a race there with my helmet on and I happen to beat the guy and there's a big speech about, 'I now love the helmet'. I say, 'I'll never race without you again.' So, that was in the script and it got cut out. So, that was good for the kids but it just didn't fit in with the whole concept of the movie and what they're trying to accomplish.
TeenHollywood: What's the worst job you ever had?
Brendan: I've liked all my jobs. I haven't really had a bad one. The only bad one that I had, I just left that after the first day. It was just picking weeds. This farmer wanted me to pick weeds in his whole field and I was like, 'Just ground it up, man. Why do I have to pick them, just ground them up.' I didn't go back there. I was like, 'Forget it.' No, I landscaped and did deliveries and stuff like that, and I liked it all. I don't do anything that I don't like.
TeenHollywood: You live here in L.A. now?
Brendan: Yeah, but every time that I get a chance to go up, I'll go back to Vancouver and Winnipeg.
TeenHollywood: How do your old friends treat you?
Brendan: They don't care. My two best friends have watched, probably, a total of maybe one and a half 'Roswell' shows. They did go see The Forsaken like a million times, just because it was like, 'It's not going to make that much money, why don't you contribute a little bit.' [Laughs] My buddy flew down and he said, 'I think that this is the first movie that I'm actually going to like that you're in,' and I was like, 'Perfect,' and I don't necessarily disagree with them. It's not their style, it's not what they grew up with, and that's the best part about it for me.
TeenHollywood: This is being compared to The Fast and the Furious. Do you agree or disagree?
Brendan: Superficially, perhaps, just the drag racing, but beyond that, it's a completely different movie. Ours has more heart, more of a human element to it. It ain't some cardboard cutout, it ain't some bubblegum, MTV video. We've got glimpses of stuff like that to get the audience going and obviously, just for the entertainment value, but it's much more of an actor's piece. You take away all of the bikes, you still have a story.
TeenHollywood: Is the purpose for every rider to win the "crown" or President status?
Brendan: It's the ride. Right now, there is a circuit, like a professional circuit for drag racers, and right now, the man is Ricky Gadsen. He's the king of drag racing. People want to take his crown, but it is on a pro circuit and they get paid for it and they have sponsors. So, you don't necessarily need to do it on the street if you're going to go that route, but this was kind of back in the day. It's based on the life of a guy named Pokey, loosely, which was an 'L.A. Times' article. Back in the day, you drag raced with a couple of guys and if you're always winning, that mystique grows.
TeenHollywood: Did you have real bikers assigned to you?
Brendan: We had a few specialists. We had a couple of guys from the clubs. All the racers were actually members of all these motorcycle clubs. Every time you had a question, you could basically turn around and ask the guy next to you because he was most likely part of the club.
TeenHollywood; What are you passionate about?
Brendan: Hockey. I wanted to be a professional, but I knew that I'd never be one because you're born with it. I don't believe that you can do anything that you want because if that was true, I would've been a hockey player [Laughs]. There are certain things that you're just not going to be able to reach based on the talent that God gave you. We didn't have enough money for me to play hockey until I was about twelve years old and by that time, I'm about ten years behind every other kid in Canada. So, I started when I was twelve and I taught myself how to skate and I worked my way up to juniors by the time that I was seventeen. So, I caught up to most of my friends. But my body isn't built for it, and I just don't have it. I accept it.
Lynn Barker is a Hollywood-based entertainment journalist and produced screenwriter.